A student who led the effort to establish a Circle K International chapter on campus has been elected to the service organization’s highest board.
Maria Landron, a junior public relations major from Royal Palm Beach, is a trustee on the 2019-20 International Board of Circle K International, the largest service-leadership organization for college students. Circle K International clubs are organized and sponsored by a Kiwanis Club. PBA’s chapter is sponsored by the West Palm Beach Kiwanis.
In her new role, Landron will advise Circle K International leaders in the Panama, Kentucky-Tennessee, Rocky Mountain and Caribbean regions. She supports those regions’ district governors, who are charged with helping their districts grow. She is also a liaison to Circle K International’s global development committee.
In her most recent role, she opened four Circle K clubs at other colleges or universities, three in Miami and one in the Cayman Islands, said Jay McCampbell, lieutenant governor of Florida Kiwanis Division 20, which spans 12 clubs from West Palm Beach to Jupiter and out to the Glades. Landron traveled to the Cayman Islands, to witness the installation of officers and lead executive board training.
“She’s very good at building interpersonal relationships with anyone who is around her, and she exudes a passion for serving with the Kiwanis,” McCampbell said. “It’s addictive to be around her.”
As a student at Royal Palm Beach High School, Landron served on the board of the Florida District of Key Club International, the high school equivalent of Circle K International. She vowed that whatever college she decided to attend must have a Circle K International chapter.
Then she fell in love with PBA, which didn’t. So she called McCampbell and asked for his support in starting one. He said “of course” and coached her — though “she doesn’t need much coaching,” he said.
Even before she put down her deposit, she emailed key people at PBA about getting a club going.
Building the club from scratch, “I felt like I had the name and the brand of my family on my shoulders,” Landron said.
PBA’s chapter, chartered in January 2018, is one of eight from West Palm Beach to Miami. The University’s club has about 10 members.
Landron got involved in Key Club after moving to the United States from the Dominican Republic when she was 11. She was searching for connections to make up for the family she left in the Caribbean.
“I joined, and I really felt like I was home,” Landron said. “I was valued. They cared not only about me but doing good in the world.”
PBA’s Circle K International has a partnership with Meadow Park Elementary School in West Palm Beach — Landron was a co-sponsor of that K-Kids club — to mentor third through fifth grade students. The beauty of the Kiwanis is that you’re always mentoring and being mentored, Landron said.
Globally, Circle K has a partnership with UNICEF to improve water, sanitation and hygiene for schools and children in Haiti. Members are encouraged to walk 3.7 miles — the average distance a person walks in the developing world to find fresh water — and ask friends and family to sponsor their walks.
Landron’s PBA coursework and professors have equipped her to tell Circle K International’s story. She writes articles and newsletters, including a monthly publication in both English and Spanish for the clubs in Panama.
Her mantra is, “You can’t fall in love with Circle K International if you don’t know what it is.”
Landron plans to pursue her master’s degree in strategic communications to prepare for a career in the non-profit world.
“Working toward a purpose is really important,” she said.